Saturday, January 26, 2013

Confession - WHY? HOW?

Let's face it - the Sacrament of Reconciliation (commonly called Confession or Penance) is not popular. 
Pope Francis going to confession

OK so we faced it!   Now what? 

Popularity does not make something right or wrong. Coming face to face with our sins is not fun and it never will be, but it is necessary.  Perhaps it helps to think of Confession like childbirth - a painful experience that results in new life.

Admitting our sins is, paradoxically, a way of showing our deep need of Jesus, the savior of the world.  He saves us from sin!  In fact the very name "Jesus" means savior.  We do not need to hold on to our sins, or justify them to ourselves, or rationalize them, or be ashamed of them any more. Every "confession" is a profession of the saving power of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus clearly hands on His authority to forgive sins in John 20:23.  Of course, only God forgives sins, but it is equally true that God works through people! Our sins affect not only our relationship with God, but our relationships with other people.  So we face this reality when we confess to a priest or bishop.  He re-presents to us the forgiveness of God and the forgiveness of our neighbor.  How good Jesus is to make our forgiveness so complete! Remember - Jesus is both God AND man.  To be "right with Jesus" is to be right with BOTH God and our fellow man.

Here is a quote from our Metropolitan, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, given in his Presidential Address to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 12, 2012

"To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance,” declared the council fathers in the very first of the documents [of Vatican II] to appear, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. (SC, n. 9)...
The premier answer to the question “What’s wrong with the world?” “what’s wrong with the church?” is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming . . . none of these, as significant as they are.  
As Chesterton wrote, “The answer to the question ‘What’s wrong with the world?’ is just two words: ’I am,’”
I am!  Admitting that leads to conversion of heart and repentance, the marrow of the Gospel-invitation. ...

Here is a short video explaining WHY we go to confession, followed by a handy link to step-by-step instructions for receiving this amazing sacrament.

Click this link for instructions on HOW to go to confession -